I had planned a late evening run, just not this late. After tackling the Incline with some friends, I headed up Pikes Peak for a solo run. Barr camp, half way up the mountain, was my planned turnaround point. The descending sun silhouetted Pikes Peak in front of me, transforming the clouds into pink and blue cotton candy. Small helicopters, disguised as hummingbirds, shot through the low tree branches. Dozens of deer drifted out of the aspens groves. Four young bucks with soft velvet antlers loitered by the trail. They exhibited a defiant teenage male attitude, pretending I didn’t exist as I ran past. One rebellious ray of light escaped around the summit, spotlighting the rounded top of a nearby peak as a ring of clouds formed a fedora hat brim around the shimmering pinnacle. The white aspen trunks took on an otherworldly radiance in the fading light. The clouds overhead became the glowing embers of a dying fire. As I hit Barr Camp and started back down, I flipped on my headlamp.
steep mountain trails, “down” is a faster concept than “up”. As the trees blurred into each other, thick pines swallowed the remaining light. The moon that was scheduled to light my exit was still rising in the east, yellow and expectant. My world was reduced to the sphere of my headlamp. I had not encountered a human for miles. Alone with my thoughts, the crunch of the crumbled granite under my shoes seemed to grow in intensity. I imagined sounds in the woods, blurred movements in my periphery. A pressing sense of my aloneness launched the thought that maybe I wasn’t alone. Maybe something or someone existed that was greater than me. Someone who knew my fears and weaknesses.
I whispered in the dark, “Are you there, God?”
“Seriously?” He responded.